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Missouri Chamber advocates for biosimilar legislation

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This week the House Health and Mental Health Committee approved Senate Bill 875. The legislation is intended to modernize Missouri law to allow for safe substitutions of an interchangeable biological product for a prescribed medication.

Interchangeable biological products, or “biosimilars”, are products that are licensed by the FDA and determined to be highly similar to a competitor’s innovator product, with no clinically meaningful differences in terms of safety or purity of the product.

Senate Bill 875, sponsored by Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-Columbia), simply adds interchangeable biological products to the laws currently governing when pharmacists can make generic substitutions when filling prescription orders.

biosimsKyleigh O’Brien, a young girl who suffers from juvenile arthritis and her brother, Brennan, travelled to Jefferson City to share her story with the committee and provide testimony in support of the bill. Her infusions cost upwards of $13,000 per treatment at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

“Once my doctor started me on biologic infusion medication I started to feel like a normal kid most of the time,” O’Brien testified. “My mom and I have been lobbying for this bill because it worries us that we won’t have the law in place to protect us when biosimilars hit the market. We trust my doctors and decided which is the best medication for me to take. We need this bill to pass so pharmacies are required to notify doctors and patients any time a substitute is given. It scares me to think I may be given a medication that I haven’t agreed to. What if I have a bad reaction?”

Brad Green, Director of Legislative and Regulatory Affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, testified in support of the bill.

“Missouri has an opportunity to become a respected leader in both the research and manufacturing of biologics and biosimilars if our state laws are consistent and aligned with other pro-business states,” Green said.

For more information on this issue, contact Brad Green at bgreen@mochamber.com, or by phone at 573-634-3511.

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